The Type 83 is a 152 mm self-propelled howitzer used by the People's Liberation Army of China (PLA). It was originally developed by Factory 674 in the late 1970s. Dates are not known, 1977 is is often given for the programm launch date. The prototype was completed in February 1980, production authorized in 1983 and ended in 1990. Many NATO analysts compared it to a "Chinese 2S3". It had indeed basically the same gun, a modified version of the Type 66 gun. This was first modern self-propelled gun in the PLA, and despite low numbers it remains in service today alongside the more common PZL05 Self-Propelled Howitzers.


To modernise its ground forces, the PLA demanded a 152mm self-propelled gun-howitzer in 1979. This self-propelled gun system was developed by Factory 674 (Harbin First Machinery Building Group Ltd), based on a standard tracked chassis (see later). The project's development started that year and the prototype was completed in February 1980, followed by a second in 1981.

674 Factory in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province was chosen as primary contractor for general design and development of the tracked chassis.
127 Factory in Qiqihar, Heilongjiang Province was responsible for the development of the artillery and the semi-automatic loader.
5318 Factory (now Huadong Optic-Electronic Instrument Ltd.) in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province was responsible for the development of the gun sight.
Other sub-contractors included:
-298 Factory (aiming sight)
-754 Factory (intercom)
-843 Factory (ammunition case).

674 Factory carefully studied the foreign self-propelled artillery system designs and a mockup was made for initial theoretical evaluation. The programme definition was completed in June 1979, and the first prototype was completed in February 1980 for initial tests. Based on the previous test results, a modified second prototype was built in July 1981 for design finalisation trails with the PLA.

The vehicle underwent a wide range of road and firing tests under strict conditions in 1981~1982. The howitzer design was finalised in 1983 and officially designated Type 83. The initial batch production began in May 1983, and the weapon system was first revealed to the public during the National Day parade on 1 October 1984. A total of 78 examples were built between 1984 and 1990.

Production was authorized in 1983 under the designation Type 83. The first production started in May 1983n first public display was on 1 October 1984. Production ended in 1990, between 78 vehicles built or 150 depending on the sources.


The Type 83 reuses the common six wheels chassis of the time. The same was used for example on the PHZ-89 122mm SPRML and the Type-89 Ranj destroyer as well as the PZL 04. The engine is in the forward hull. The layout of the Type 83 follows the general pattern of most modern self-propelled artillery systems, with six pairs of road wheels, the engine and drive sprocket at the front, and the large square turret at the rear. There are extensive storage points around the hull and turret to carry 30 rounds. There are two periscopes, on of which is fitted with night vision channel. The crew communicates with each other using the Type 803 intercom system. The turret elevation is from +62 to 0 degrees with 360 degree traverse.

Engine and performances

The engine is a 520 hp (382 kW) WR4B-12V150LB four-stroke, liquid-cooled diesel engine. The maximum speed is 55 km/h and range 450 km.

Armor protection and defensive armament

The Type 83 is made from steel and not aluminum alloy, albeit in limited thickness, estimated at 15 mm max (0.6 in) RHA on the sloped front nose in order to deflect or stopped 20 mm autocannon rounds. There is a probable NBC protection, but no apparent smoke dischargers. Auto Fire extinguishers are likely in the fighting, driving and engine compartments. There is inside the turret the stowage for 30 shells.

The The main gun of the Type 83 is developed from the Type 66 152mm towed gun-howitzer, added with a fume extractor and autoloader. The maximum rate of fire is 5 rounds/minute. It is capable of firing all standard types of 152mm rounds, including high explosive fragmentation (HE-FRAG), HE-FRAG with base gas bleed, cluster projectiles with fragmentation submunitions and base gas bleed, and indigenous laser-guided 152mm projectile, likely a Chinese version of the Krasnopol laser ammunition. The elevation is 0-62° giving a range of 17 km. There is also base-bleed ammunition with improved range, cluster and fragmentation projectiles.

China obtained indeed the Russian Krasnopol laser-guided projectile technology in the 1990s, and has successfully developed its own 152/155mm laser-guided ammunitions. Designed to defeat armoured vehicles and weapon emplacements, the projectile has inertial mid-course guidance and semi-active laser homing. The projectile has a range of 3~20km, and can hit a target by the first shot without registration.

The secondary weapon is a 12.7 mm/50 QJC88 machine gun mounted on the turret, on a ring mount around the commander's cupola. It is an antiaircraft machine gun, with a maximum fire-range of 2,000m. Additionally inside the turret there is also a Type 69 40mm rocket propelled grenade (RPG) launcher, and the crews own personal weapons.


There was a Chinese artillery regiment for each armoured division, equipped on paper by 18 of these vehicles, organized in a battalion with three batteries. However soon after entering service already the Type 83 (later renamed PZL-83) was already determined as obsolescent so China started to develop new systems such as the PLZ-45 for export and domestic needs in longer terms, to and replace the Type 83 for good, the PLZ-05.

The Type 83 indeed was designed to provide continuous firepower and support operations of motorised infantry and armoured troops as well as cancel enemy personnel and weapons, erase defence fortifications and delete artillery, remove tank and AFVs. Missions that were normally given to a SPH/SPG or classic artillery and linked to any artillery regiment organic to an armoured division. If 78 such vehicles had been manufactured indeed meant only four Batallions, just enough to provide for four infantry divisions.

The issue with the vehicle is that it did not brough significant improvement over the Soviet 2S1 Gvodzika (not operated by the PLA). Indeed the range of range of 17 km is about the same as the 122 mm 2A18 equipped Russian vehicle, 15.3 km (9.5 mi) conventional but 21.9 km (13.6 mi) with extended ammunition. Albeit in the West, the M109 later with extended ammo showed 30 km with the same 155 mm ammunition, the 1998 Panzerhaubitze is capable of 30-35 km, the British AS-90 (1990) some 24 km, and closer in time to the Type 83, the earlier (1977) French GTC 155 Auf1 23.5 km. When arriving in units by 1984, the Soviet Union was working on the 2S19 Mtsa-S with a new howitzer promising 24.7 km, 29 with a base-bleed.

Today, the PZL83 had been likely upgraded to the PLZ83A upgraded standard, with improved communications system, updated fire control system. There has been also a prototype featuring a 130mm howitzer derived from the Type 59-I towed gun. It was never greenlighted for production. Since its replacement by the PZL05, the PZL83 was likely reshuffled either for instruction or rear divisions, or as of 2024, possibly decommissioned and/or in storage.


Dimensions9.8 x 3.24 x 3.50 m (32 ft 2 in x 10 ft 8 in x 11 ft 6 in)
Total weight30 tons
PropulsionWR4B-12V150LB 12-cyl diesel 520 hp (382 kW)
Suspensiontorsion bar
Speed (road)55 km/h (35 mph)
Range450 km (280 mi)
Armament152 mm (6.0 in) howitzer, 12.7 mm HMG
ArmorMax 15 mm
Total production78 in 1983-1990 plus PZL-82 (c150)

Equipment list


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